How can interactive awareness programs play important role in helping/promoting education on sanitation and cleanliness in the backward rural and remote communities? One of the best possible way to effectively reaching out to such communities for promoting education and awareness is through IP. The proposed approaches for using such an interactive platform are described below:
- It could kindle interest about education and healthy life styles through awareness classes and workshops that may include students telling stories, building simple science models related to sanitation and health, trying to provide logical and scientific explanations based on problems related to their immediate life issues, societies and localities.
- Use of vernacular languages and even local dialects in the classroom environment will greatly help in breaking the ice between the teacher/instructor and the students.
- Use of different colored chalks, crayons, pastels, water colors, pencils, markers, marble papers in the class rooms and workshops can generate the interest and attention of the students in working towards science models, diagrams and posters to solve local issues of sanitation, health and cleanliness and their corresponding challenges and opportunities.
- Using differently colored sticky notes both by teacher/instructor and students can further help in scientific concept building through either individual or coordinated group activities about health, sanitation and cleanliness.
- Use of chalks and black boards, use of colorful diagrams and posters; simple schematic charts, flow charts and word diagrams; vibrant cartoons, interactive word games, quizzes, simple daily life issues based science puzzles can progressively strengthen both formal and informal communication between the students and teacher/instructor.
- Drawing pictures and images, using board work for better communication, small acts or plays in delivering idea or concept in colloquial terms, demonstrations by using specimens and scientific models, simple fill in the blanks like tasks to make students think and analyze, programs such go as you like, use of songs, rhymes and poems to communicate an idea or concept or in formulating a scientific explanation to a natural phenomena, sharing personal experiences and anecdotes of students and in class attempt to provide scientific explanations and exchanging information with respect to sanitation, cleanliness and health in simplest forms.
- Short discussions, in class debates, listing merits and demerits through class room interactions and board works, essay and drawing competitions on different science related topics.
- Teaching children in a stepwise fashion how to provide logical and scientific explanations to their day to day life issues will slowly help building awareness regarding environment and health among students.
- Students from backward communities and remote localities are mostly shy and hence group work/group activities can help in better connecting students and teachers in exploring different scientific topics. Such an approach can help in eradicating initial discomfort, building rapport among students.
The following tools can be used:
a.Use of multi-logues (in place of teacher monologues or teacher-student dialogues only) increasing participation level of all groups of students and attracting student interest towards related topics in the class or workshop.
b. Making interactions as multidimensional as possible.
c. Conducting classes in nature for a change greatly help in increasing student participation and also better expose them to d. Advanced students can be exposed to movies, documentaries, videos to build up their awareness, ideas and concepts around better health, good sanitation habits and cleanliness real life examples and issues.
- Topics that can be raised or covered to increase scientific awareness about better health, hygiene and cleanliness and about their local environment and society are suggested as follows:
- Ecosystem & Environment: Sustainable crop production, use and application of different locally prepared bio pesticides and bio insecticides using indigenous knowledge and practices instead of synthetic agrochemicals in crop production, importance of organic farming and agriculture, sustainable management of dairy and livestock, conventional and non-conventional energy resources, different forms of agricultural pollution, challenges of idol immersions and related socio-religious practices, wildlife conservation, sustainable environment management, conservation of local ecosystem and environment and local forest resources, negative impacts of over exploitation of local resources, positive impacts of
- Food, Health & Sanitation: Sanitation, hygiene, cleanliness, rural waste management, food production and food processing at rural levels, food security, food crisis, human and animal health and disease management, biotic and abiotic pathogens, their simple management and control for maintaining good health and hygiene etc
- Society: Rural and public administration and governance, local e-governance, basics of banking and financial transactions, government and cooperative structure and management, basic and rural economics, etc In the economically and technologically advanced western nations with over 99% literacy rates and with extremely high level of digital literacy, the role of conventional library has been undoubtedly questioned. However, in a developing country like India with an average literacy rate of only ~74% and penetration level of newspapers to only 25% of an estimated over one billion strong population, the importance of conventional libraries and printed books will remain relevant for the next few decades for sure. Hence it will be necessary to establish small libraries promoting education and awareness at the grass root level to support the kids as well as adults with education resources for their targeted empowerment. In addition to the drive for cleanliness and sanitation, mass education campaigns will also be also necessary for building environmental and eco-sociological awareness among our deprived backward community and members. The comprehensive and multi-facility chain of postal-banking-educationlibrary (PBEL) network, if efficiently implemented and executed, can also revolutionize and transform rural India towards modernization, with stable economic and social progress.